Jet lag and jelly

I’m not doing so well on the jet-lag front this week: On Monday morning, I was in my office at 3.30am trying to do something useful as sleep wouldn’t come my way. Then on Wednesday, after another night’s disturbed (almost non-existent sleep!) I was up at 5.00am to get ready for an early trip to Blackpool, where I’d been asked to deliver a mobile learning workshop at the 6th form college. Initial discussions had taken place via email while I was in America.

I’d initially decided to re-work one of the MoLeNET days Di and I designed because it involves plenty of activities and related pedagogy. I would just tailor the programme to suit my audience.  Then, I was told that the college was a Mac college – entirely equipped with Macs and MacBooks! Apparently the only college in the country so equipped. This was a blow – as it meant changing the way it was delivered because some of the planned day’s activities involve software that Mac won’t support. I searched and found CaptureIT which supposedly does similar things to Cam Studio but stopped exploring it (I still haven’t explored the video bit yet) because I got another phone call on Tuesday to say that it wouldn’t be an all day gig as originally planned – but a 2 hour one repeated three times (I’m good value!!) That meant starting again as there would still be a need to include engaging activities that didn’t appear too rushed. My objective was for the groups to explore mobile learning without being too didactic.

I felt that the day went well. Each group remained engaged and fulfilled the activities I’d set them with the resulting discussions going the way I’d planned – without dissent.

One of the activities involves reading a piece of text 300-350 words long (I used a newspaper article on two of the sessions and a piece of Shakespeare on the other – readers think the Shakespeare is “hard”) and then composing an SMS text (up to 160 characters) or ‘Tweet’ (up to 140 characters) to demonstrate their understanding of the piece. Part of the value in this comes from the concentration required to sift through the prose, picking out important aspects and then combining them in a very short message. Once all the received messages are shown to the group the full value is realised in the ensuing discussion of submitted ‘understandings’. Lilian and I plan to use this in our ALT-C workshop.

Talking of which, Lilian and I met on Thursday for lunch and to catch up on things that had happened over summer and that needed to be done for the upcoming academic year.  It was a great afternoon, during which we both felt we had achieved something and left each other feeling invigorated. We had pretty much planned our workshop for ALT (Programme) Wednesday morning 9.00am (currently).

And today (more later on Twitter and via blog next week I’m sure) we’re setting off for Wembley to see Fartown (the older persons’ term for Huddersfield Giants) play in the Rugby League Cup Final.


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